Tuesday, January 28, 2014



The negotiations between the Obama Administration and Afghan President Karzai over a security agreement do not appear to be going well. According to the New York Times, the administration is working on a contingency plan if the zero option comes to fruition. Afghanistan plays an important role in the war on terror as it is strategically important to the drone program. The bases that operate there are able to respond to threats in the region. We have recently seen the hard costly work in Iraq unravel. That might happen with Afghanistan. Aid to Afghanistan is tied to a bilateral security agreement which Afghan President Karzai is delaying signing. The aid is crucial for operation of basic government services. It is foreseeable that without the aid, the nation could regress. That would unravel the hard work and sacrifice our service men and women provided to free that society and make that region less susceptible to terrorism and violence. Unfortunately Afghanistan's unwillingness to act responsibly in a manner that is its best interest could negatively impact them socially and economically. 


An Associated Press poll showed that 60% of Americans favor privacy over security protections. I am not sure that American would completely forgo national security over concerns for privacy. I believe that Americans do not believe that we have to forgo privacy to achieve our goal of effective national security. The idea that there is a direct trade off is not accurate. In order to protect the United States from terrorism, government officials do not need to every citizen like a potential suspect without just cause. No one wants to see the United States experience another attack nor does anyone want to live in a police state. The federal government can protect privacy while promoting national security by simply establishing just cause and obtaining judicial approval prior to collecting data. Americans just want a protocol established that protects their constitutional rights while allowing the government to successfully deter attacks. 


To be truly informed, one must have a variety of news sources that span different ideologies. Simply because new organizations have slants that overlook stories that contradict their ideal narrative. Especially true with the normal so called mainstream media. GOP success stories are not popular among these journalists but smoothing over Democratic failures are apparently. The mainstream media was quick to cover the massive labor led protest in Wisconsin but are silent when Wisconsin is experiencing a $977 million surplus completing an unimaginable, at the time, turnaround. Media coverage is swarming over the politically motivated attacks on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while they overlook his corrupt predecessors. They also overlook the fact that New Jersey is a much better state than it was prior to his first election but that does not go along with the political narrative the mainstream media wants to put forth. People forget that the New Jersey population was looking for the door under Corzine rather than towards a better future as population fled to other states. The media is also assisting in the smoothing over of Democratic failures while trying to highlight GOP controversies. We should expect that media would provide fair and balance coverage but in reality people need to inform themselves and make their own conclusions not accepting the slanted coverage either way. 


The Obama administration does not have much ideas of how to deal with the long term unemployed. So they go to their old bag of tricks of claiming disccrimination. The Obama administration is trying to get companies to agree to a pledge not to discriminate against the long term unemployed. The long term unemployed are suffering more skill atrophy than discrimination. The longer out of work, the greater risk for skill atrophy. Companies should not arbitrarily reject candidates who have been out of work but they should ensure that the skill set of the candidate has not diminished. A government report pointed to skill atrophy as a threat to long term unemployment not discrimination. Framing every debate in terms of discrimination shows the lack of credible policy creation. The better approach than attempting to negatively paint potential employers is to help workers improve their marketable skill set. What good does it do to bully companies into potentially hiring people who may suffer from diminished skills? President Obama supposedly was going to take us forward but in many ways his policies are pulling us backwards. 

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